We have spent some time defining our problem and are now ready to dream about that perfect solution. Perfection is hard to achieve. However, it is helpful to have a goal that aims high. If we fail to ask for everything we want, we can miss out on excellent opportunities. There are many reasons to cut back on our ask. These include cost, time, budget, and even practicality. On the other hand, I have surprised many customers and product owners with what is possible.
Yes, The Perfect Solution
We can spend a lot of time discussing how no solution is perfect. Yet, it is worth the time to think through what an ideal solution looks like. This is a step that many overlook. However, it can cause scope changes and headaches once the project starts. A solution can sometimes be like an onion, where you must work through a layer to see the one below. We find this in business problems where a primary pain point overshadows lesser issues that we still want to solve. A simple example is sales. We can focus on how we sell a product and ignore fulfillment, only to find that we have challenges in fulfilling products once we get that sale.
This exercise also aims to “shoot for the moon.” We can always scale back or reduce the scope if something is too costly. Yet, when we aim too low, we can put a solution out of reach because it costs too much to add later. We see this in buying a computer. It is often far less expensive to start with more memory or storage than add that on later. The results are helpful even when we do not implement our perfect solution. The design process can leave room for that future enhancement or feature. When we fail to think about a feature, we often fail to provide a way to add it later.
How Do I Consider A Perfect Solution?
We often start our project so far from perfect it is hard to imagine what that looks like. That makes the envisioning process a challenge, and we need to be thorough as we do so. Thus, here are some suggestions for peeling the onion.
- Think of it as an outline of your process, and list your main pain points.
- Start with a solution for each point. Then, what a perfect solution would be.
- At each solution, ask, “and then what?”
- There will be “sub” pain points to solve.
- Repeat this process until you have exhausted every point.
How Do I Know When I Have Arrived?
The process above could technically go on forever. On the other hand, there is a practical limit you can hit. We can consider a single pain point of selling a product. We will keep it short and take one path. First, we find a potential customer. Next, we convince them to buy the product. Finally, we deliver the product. Solving those three items would be helpful. However, let’s drill down on the first item. We find a potential customer and ask, “and then what?” We need to contact them, find the decision-makers, and set up a sales call. When we find the decision-makers, we need to research their needs and craft a message that speaks to them. We have probably found a leaf for our path and can move to another branch.
Know Your Process In Detail
All of this points back to your processes being understood in detail. Not only do you need to know the steps needed to get from A to Z, but you also need to be able to communicate them. When we get through this activity, we can examine the layers of our “onion” and envision a perfect solution. Assume you have one detailed wish to be granted. Why not be as thorough as possible? If you want to see the many ways things can go wrong when you fail to ask for a solution properly, check out any movie or story about someone having a wish granted, but things go off the rails.
Practice Makes Perfect
Ok, perfection does not come from practice, but improvement does. We have worked on numerous projects and solved countless problems over the years and are happy to help you with yours. Even a short consultation can help you get your creative juices flowing and improve your ability to ask for a perfect solution.
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